UPDATE 8 p.m. Amy Gates at Crunchy Domestic Goddess blog reports that Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, maker of Motrin has contacted her and other mommy bloggers to say
“We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. …Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website.”
UPDATE 5 p.m.: The post below was written Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening this ad had been removed from the Motrin site and someone using the screen name @motrinmoms was posting on Twitter, claiming to represent Motrin. However, the Motrin site is down. Has Motrin woken up?
Adrants’ Steve Hall said on Twitter “1way of looking at this Motrin thing is that since it’s all getting resolved now, it’ll never hit the “real” news. Only us geeks will know.” Actually, some of us geeks, Hall and a lot of mommy bloggers included, have some pretty broad reach. Stay tuned.
It’s an inside joke among bloggers that you can cause quite a bit of trouble to a corporation if you post about it on a weekend because most big companies don’t monitor their brand 24/7. This weekend, the joke – and the firestorm – is on Motrin.
This Motrin ad about moms who wear their babies in a variety of slings has set off a fire-storm on Twitter, where #motrinmoms quickly became the topic of thousands of angry tweets, and in blogs from mothers and lots of others, like me, who find the ad condescending. A Facebook group of moms who find the ad offensive quickly followed.
Clearly, nobody at Motrin, or its agency, was paying attention today, Sunday. And by Monday, you can bet that you’ll hear about this on the evening news and in dead tree media. Sure, Motrin will respond, or take the ad down, withdraw it from its rotation, etc. But the damage to the brand, among the very large and vocal niche they were targeting, is done.
Lesson to Motrin: any company that wants to participate in social media and use the tools better know how to walk the walk. Social media is a 24/7 community and at the very least you need to Google your brand name several times a day. Better yet, before spending million dollars or whatever was spent on that ad, ask real moms what they think about baby slings and whether they thought they needed Motrin to solve the problem you think they have.
What should Motrin do:
1- Apologize. Waste no time. Do it right now.
2- Ask mommy bloggers for help.
3- Listen to what they say.
4- Spend money creating a socially responsible program that helps real mothers with a real issue – preferably one they vote on.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: an ad agency is the last place a company should go when it wants to use the tools of social media. Before you venture into social media, hire creative talent that has already created successful social media marketing campaigns for major brands. Everyone and her dog says they’re a social media guru. That’s just not true. Don’t believe the hype. Look at the track record instead.
– Motrin Makes Moms Mad
– Social Media Marketing: Who’s Full of Hot Air? Who’s The Real Deal?
– Twitter Moms React
– Motrin’s Twitter Moment
– Why Pay Attention to Social Media? Because Companies Have No Choice
– B.L. Ochman’s 12 Tenets of Social Media Marketing
– Social Media Case Studies
– The REAL Problem with the Mortin Ads